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SEAECHIJGET O^ HINDUISM                              TS
Every British and American advance in the last century, every
step towards the light, has been a step towards applied Chris-
tianity , Christ gathered the children unto him, saying cof such
are the kingdom of heaven.' The Factory Acts dragged them out
of hell. Christ taught that all men are brothers ; the abolition of
the slave trade was at least an attempt to realize His ideal. Christ
told us to care for the sick and the aged; and in conformity with
His wishes—even though we may not openly acknowledge them
—we have a host of free hospitals and an intricate system of
Christ told us, too, that those who take to the sword shall perish
by the sword. Bitterly has the world learnt the truth of His
words. But at least we have tried to obey Him; we have wrestled
with the devil and built strong fortresses to keep him out. The
name of one of those fortresses was Geneva. It crumbled and fell.
But even its ruins are glorious; they are ruins in which Christ
could walk without shame or grief.
Men cannot advance, except towards Christ. He is at the end
of every road that leads uphill, towards the light.
Compare our record, brief and casual though it may be, with
the record of Hinduism.
If ever there was a man-made act which would have gained the
sanction of Christ, it was the Child Marriage Restraint Act, to
penalize infant marriages, which came into force in April 1980.1
This act was a clear-cut example of Christianity conquering
Hinduism. It came into being largely because of the international
uproar created by Mother India, whose author, of course, was
a Christian. And it was fought, tooth and nail? by the orthodox
Hindus, in the name of Hinduism itself.
The religious fervour with which so monstrous a custom as
child-marriage was defended by the Hindus in their fight against
the Child Marriage Act will come as a revelation to the average
Westerner. He is inclined to suppose, loosely, that its abolition
was due to the triumph of the most venerable elements ia Hindu
life. Precisely the opposite is the case; it was due to the defeat
of those elements. For instance, at mass meetings throughout
the country, this sort of resolution was passed:
1 Better known as the Sarda Act, from its sponsor, Divan Bahadur Harbllas Sarda*